Laura Veirs Year of Meteors

[Nonesuch; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: singer/songwriter, indie pop
Others: Neko Case, Beth Orton, Cat Power

"Women of the world take over/ Because if you don't the world will come to an end/ And it won't take long." - Ivor Cutler

Apparently the women of the world were listening, at least in the pop world. Maybe it's just me, but nobody seems to understand the true delicacies of pop music like women. Maybe they are more in tune with 'real' emotions, or maybe women are great at feigning love, loss, and introspection. On Year of Meteors, Laura Veirs does just that, weaving carefully-constructed pop melodies and finely-tuned acoustic ballads.

Most songs on Year of Meteors take off from note one. Veirs wastes no time jumping into "Black Gold Blues." The track blasts off on a crunchy guitar riff and a hectic violin. The rounds of singing add an eerie atmosphere to the pop rock gem. "Secret Someones" has a classic rock and roll sound, much like an old Fleetwood Mac single. It's a solid head-bobbing number that explodes into vibes, distortion, and biting harmonies. The stream of classic rock-influenced pop is found throughout much of the album, whether it's the jingle-jangle of "Galaxies" or the key-heavy "Cool Water."

Veirs does deviate from these pop throwbacks, however, to deliver some of the most delicious slow ditties. "Magnetized" features Veirs' fragile voice backed by selectively picked acoustic guitar and intricately placed keys. The song feels as if it could fall apart at the slightest gust of wind, but the track is able to keep it together. The Sam Beam breezy "Spelunking" is slow pop bliss, again focusing on Veirs' timbre. Lyrics of love's imagery and fish without eyes may make for strange bedfellows, but only Veirs seems to be able to make it all work in perfect synchronicity.

In these days of disposable MTV pop, it's reassuring to have deep meaning and well-crafted pop to light the way. The world is in need of more songs about true desire and longing without the strobe lights, choreography, and million dollar outfits. Year of Meteors relentlessly crashes through the paint-by-numbers pop atmosphere with a ferocity and determination unmatched by canned pop groups and Diane Warren-penned ballads. Laura Veirs continues to grow and flourish from album to album, and if Year of Meteors is any indication, her next effort will take her to the next level of pure pop perfection.

1. Fire Snakes
2. Galaxies
3. Secret Someones
4. Magnetized
5. Parisian Dream
6. Rialto
7. Through the Glow
8. Cool Water
9. Spelunking
10. Black Gold Blues
11. Where Gravity is Dead
12. Lake Swimming

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